I made the conscious choice years ago to be a person who works to learn and grow as long as I am blessed enough to be on this journey to do so.
After I made this choice, one of the unknown-to-me-at-the-time lessons early on was that to stay on this path of growth, I needed to learn how to forgive myself.
As we grow and learn about ourselves we become aware of the real and hard truths that we have made decisions that we wish we wouldn’t have, or that we are not proud of, or that we hope are not our story.
We are left with a choice: lingering in despair, regret, self-loathing, disgust, second-guessing, WTF?-ness, or some other craptastic feeling OR feeling those for whatever time they are actually needed/helpful and then choosing not to be stuck there.
Every moment is a choice.
In every moment I get to choose who I am and how I will show up.
Yes, I have made mistakes and I will continue to do so. Some mistakes have been relatively minor even though the stories I created about them were ridiculously over the top and made me feel worse. And, some mistakes have been bigger and needed more time for reflection, understanding, and change.
And, while much less common than making mistakes, I have also made decisions that were against my internal code of ethics. I have lied when I shouldn’t have and I have hurt people with my words. These decisions are the ones that rightly so (in my opinion) have taken me more time to learn and grow from. Much internal reflection and understanding about myself is/was needed and I will keep growing here.
I get to choose to learn my lessons, not be defined by them. I get to choose to forgive myself and resolve to do better — for myself and for all I will cross paths with.
Again, every moment is a choice.
All I have done, every experience I have, every choice I have made — all are a part of my makeup. Like a pottery wheel, where I am the potter and the clay. Every turn offers the opportunity to shape, to form, to become more beautiful, to move closer to the promise of what and who I can become.
If I make a choice that doesn’t support my highest self or my thriving, that choice doesn’t define me — it is another opportunity to shape this vessel that is me. To learn. To grow. To become.
Our history is part of us, not all of us. We are not our history — although we are formed and informed by our history, it is but a small part of who we are.
Of course, our history is incredibly important, the good and the bad, the tiny and the huge, where we are proud and where we have fallen short. It has all led us to this moment. But, it does not define what is possible and how brightly we can shine.
We get to choose each and every day how we step forward.
Are we going to let our past define us? Or, are we going to make the choice to honor our past, take the lessons we have learned, and step forward to an even better life?
I’m going to continue to do my work, which also means holding myself to my promise to honor what I have learned and where I have come from and allow it to inform, not determine, my way forward.